Syria | Venezuela | Sudan | Colombia | Myanmar | Pete Seeger

Syria army, rebels agree new Damascus truce (Daily Star)

Syria’s army and rebels have agreed local truces in key flashpoints around Damascus, despite regime and opposition representatives failing to make any progress in Geneva peace talks.

Maria Paez Victor: Venezuela Under Attack Again (CounterPunch)

Again, a highly organized attack is being carried out against the democratic and popular government of Venezuela. It has involved monetary manipulations, economic sabotage, international media campaign against the economy despite excellent economic indicators, defaming the state run oil company, and this last week riots on the streets that have left 3 dead and 66 injured.

Chris Gilbert: What’s Really Happening in Venezuela? (CounterPunch)

If the term fascism is abstracted from the accidental features of its historical manifestations and used more broadly to identify a movement that captures sectors of the middle and working class for a pro-imperialist project – a movement that is often racist and always willing to disregard democratic results – then President Maduro is correct in calling the key actors on Wednesday fascists.

Hubert Sauper, Amy Goodman: South Sudan Reaches Ceasefire, But Will Nascent State Survive Oil-Fueled Neocolonialism? (Democracy Now)

After more than a month of violence that left thousands dead, rivals in South Sudan have reached a ceasefire agreement. The clashes began as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his former vice president, but quickly escalated into ethnic clashes that raised fears of a civil war. We turn to a new documentary that shows how South Sudan has become ground zero for contemporary colonialism in Africa. Director Hubert Sauper’s “We Come as Friends” provides an aerial view of the conflict in Sudan from a shaky, handmade two-seater plane. The film depicts American investors, Chinese oilmen, U.N. officials and Christian missionaries struggling to shape Sudan according to their own visions, while simultaneously applauding the alleged “independence” of the world’s newest state. What emerges is a devastating critique of the consequences of cultural and economic imperialism.

Dana Priest: Covert action in Colombia (Washington Post)
Amy Goodman, Dana Priest: Covert CIA Program Reveals Critical U.S. Role in Killings of Rebel Leaders (Democracy Now)

[A] shocking new report has exposed how a secret CIA program in Colombia helped kill at least two dozen rebel leaders. The Washington Post reports the program relies on key help from the National Security Agency and is funded through a multibillion-dollar black budget. The program began under President George W. Bush and continued under Obama. It has crippled the FARC rebel group by targeting its leaders using bombs equipped with GPS guidance. Up until 2010, the CIA controlled the encryption keys that allowed the bombs to read GPS data. In one case in 2008, the U.S. and Colombia discovered a FARC leader Raúl Reyes hiding in Ecuador. According to the report, quote, “To conduct an airstrike meant a Colombian pilot flying a Colombian plane would hit the camp using a US-made bomb with a CIA-controlled brain.” The attack killed the rebel leader and sparked a major flareup of tensions with Ecuador and Venezuela.

Amy Goodman, Mario Murillo: Did Covert U.S. Program Targeting Rebel Leaders Help Undermine Colombia’s Peace Process? (Democracy Now)
Jack L. Laun: What Dana Priest Left Out (CounterPunch)
John I Laun: Who is Really in Charge of Colombia? (CounterPunch)

Nancy Hudson-Rodd: Silence as Myanmar ‘genocide’ unfolds (Asia Times)

Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher: Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters (Intercept)

Pete Seeger on Democracy Now (Democracy Now)

The legendary folk singer, banjo player, storyteller and activist Pete Seeger has died at the age of 94.

Dave Marsh: What It Means to Lose Pete Seeger (CounterPunch)
David Yearsley: For Pete’s Sake! The Shameless Descent of Bob Dylan (CounterPunch)

Iran | Congo–Rwanda–Uganda | Egypt | Venezuela | Germany

Julian Borger, Saeed Kamali Dehghan: Iran seals nuclear deal with west in return for sanctions relief (Guardian)

The difficulties facing the negotiators in the coming months were highlighted by the different interpretations Kerry and Zarif took on the fiercely disputed issue of whether the deal represented a recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium in principle. Zarif was insistent that it did because it was based on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which guarantees the right to a peaceful nuclear programme. Kerry said that neither the NPT nor Sunday’s deal specifies a right to enrichment.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (Wikisource)

Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination …

Harriet Sherwood: Israel condemns Iran nuclear deal as ‘historic mistake’ (Guardian)

Ismael Hossein-Zadeh: Why the Iran Nuclear Talks Failed (CounterPunch)

The three day nuclear negotiations between Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of world powers that started on November 7th came to an unsuccessful end when, apparently, France balked at the proposed interim deal as not sufficiently controlling Iran’s nuclear technology. Whether the French objected independently or as part of a good cop bad cop game to sabotage the proposed deal is of secondary importance. The more important point is that Western nuclear powers backed-off from their own demands and proposals despite the fact that they represented a number of significant one-sided concessions by the Iranian negotiators.

Ann Garrison, Jean-Mobert N’Senga: Why is DRC “Negotiating” With M23, Not Rwanda and Uganda? (CounterPunch)

Anyone who’s paid any serious attention to the conflict between the Congolese army and the M23 militia in eastern Congo, knows that the M23 were never “Congolese rebels,” as AP, Reuters, and the rest of the corporate press have agreed to identify them. M23 has been fighting under Rwandan command, in consultation with top Ugandan officials, with support, recruits, and conscripts from Rwanda and Uganda, for the territorial claims of the Rwandan and Ugandan regimes, as were M23′s previous incarnations, the RCD and the CNDP. …
So why isn’t Congo at the table with Uganda and Rwanda, aside from the fact that Rwanda and Uganda have no legitimate territorial claims within the borders of the DRC? And/or the fact that Uganda and Rwanda are both longstanding “military partners” of the U.S., which makes the truth both inconvenient and embarrassing in Washington D.C.?

Sharif Abdel Kouddous, Nermeen Sheikh, Amy Goodman: As New Protest Law Looms, Egypt Faces Harsher Authoritarian Order Than the Revolution Overthrew (Democracy Now)

[T]he military and the Muslim Brotherhood have acted as two juggernauts in the Egyptian body politic. They’re both characterized by patriarchy and secrecy and mendacity, and they’ve both, you know, ripped apart Egypt’s social fabric as they struggle for power. And I think a lot of groups felt pushed out of this discourse when these two big juggernauts came to a clash, to a head. Morsi and the Brotherhood governed in a very majoritarian style. They alienated people across the political spectrum. They encouraged and wanted a brutal security sector. They encouraged the killing of protesters. And so, when the parts of the deep state, the police and the army, that they tried to placate—they really did try to bring them on their side and be a part of a new elite and harness the state instead of reform it—when those elements turned on them, there was no one standing by them. And so, people have been watching this killing. Of course, they condemn this level of violence, but it’s a very complicated and difficult situation right now in Egypt.

Chris Gilbert: Refrigerator Wars in Venezuela (CounterPunch)

Importers in Venezuela bring in goods with cheap dollars that they obtain through the state – dollars that come from the petroleum rent. They then mark up the goods 200% to 1000%. The government’s idea is to limit the markup to 30%.

Noam Chomsky, Chris Steele: There’s Always a Class War Going On (CounterPunch)

Well, there’s always a class war going on. The United States, to an unusual extent, is a business-run society, more so than others. The business classes are very class-conscious—they’re constantly fighting a bitter class war to improve their power and diminish opposition. Occasionally this is recognized.

Joachim Jachnow: What’s Become of the German Greens? (New Left Review)

Once pillars of the peace movement, Die Grünen are now cheerleaders for Western military intervention. Joachim Jachnow’s cursus vitae of the movement—diverse origins, ideological rifts, shifting social bases—explains the transformation.

Trademark Bully Jenzabar Ordered To Pay $500,000 In Attorney Fees Over Its Unrelenting Attack On Documentary Filmmakers (techdirt)

The central element of abuse of process is the use of litigation for an ulterior purpose — that is, a purpose other than to achieve relief for the wrong alleged. The overall record of this case leaves no doubt that that is exactly what Jenzabar did; it subjected Long Bow to protracted and costly litigation not to protect the good will of its trademark from misappropriation, but to suppress criticism of Jenzabar’s principals and its corporate practices. …
Jenzabar’s multiple and shifting legal and factual theories, asserted at the various stages of the case, support the same conclusion, as does its objection to pro hac vice admission of the lawyer who assumed Long Bow’s defense after it had exhausted its resources. In this regard, the differences in economic power between the parties is one of many circumstances that tends to confirm the conclusion that Jenzabar engaged in extortionate conduct, making this case exceptional.

Hugo Chávez Frías

Carles Muntaner: Joan Benach, Maria Paez Victor: Anti-imperialist, Socialist and Immortal Latino-American: Ah, Chavez No Se Va! (CounterPunch)
Tariq Ali: Hugo Chávez and me (Guardian)
José Pertierra: Chavez: the Man and His Dream (CounterPunch)
Marta Harnecker: Chávez’s Chief Legacy: Building, with People, an Alternative Society to Capitalism (MRzine)
Fred Magdoff: Farewell Comrade Chávez (MRzine)
Heiko Khoo: Hugo Chávez the man who moved a continent! (
International Marxist Tendency: Hugo Chávez is dead: The fight for socialism lives! / Hugo Chávez ha muerto – !la lucha por el socialismo vive! ( Hugo Chávez ist tot – der Kampf für den Sozialismus lebt weiter (Funke)
Anti-Imperialist Camp: Nos despedimos de un camarada revolucionario / Nachruf auf den verstorbenen Präsidenten Venezuelas Hugo Chávez Frías (
Dan Beeton: Chávez Haters Not “Limited by Truth, Reality or Common Sense” (Venezuelanalysis)
Garry Leech: The Bias of Human Rights Watch (CounterPunch)

Philippines | Venezuela | Iran | Korea | Spain | France/Algeria | Chomsky in Gaza | Palestine/Israel | Finkelstein

Richard Javad Heydarian: US ‘pivots’ on the Philippines (Asia Times)

Gabriel Hetland: Why Chavez Won (CounterPunch)

On October 7th, Venezuelans voted to give Hugo Chavez a fourth term as president. With a historic turnout of over 80% of the electorate (a remarkable figure in a country where voting is not mandatory), Chavez handily defeated opposition candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski by an eleven-point margin: 55.14% to 44.24%.i In seeking to account for why this has occurred, mainstream media have studiously avoided the most straightforward explanation: a majority of Venezuelans support Chavez and the policies his administration has implemented over the last fourteen years.

Vijay Prashad: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran (CounterPunch)

What was Netanyahu’s case against Iran? That Iran is close to having a nuclear bomb. This is an old saw from Bibi. In 1992, as a Member of the Knesset, Netanyahu predicted that Iran was “three to five years” from a nuclear weapon. He was wrong in 1992, and he is wrong now. Take the case of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) recent reports on Iran. The Director General of the IAEA provided a report to the IAEA’s Board of Governors on August 30, 2012. If you are able to get through the bureaucratic and legalistic verbiage, you’ll get to the two important sentences: (1) that the IAEA is confident about “the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran”; and (2) that the IAEA can “conclude that all nuclear materials in Iran is in peaceful activities.”

Markus Kompa: Iran könnte „in wenigen Monaten“ die Atombombe haben – seit 1979 (Telepolis)

Rüdiger Frank: An Atmosphere of Departure and Two Speeds, Korean Style: Where is North Korea Heading? (38north)

Juan Antonio Anunión: Wert quiere “españolizar” Cataluña (El país)

Reuters: François Hollande acknowledges 1961 massacre of Algerians in Paris (Guardian)

James Green: An Interview With Norman Finkelstein (CounterPunch)

Rami Almeghari: Chomsky in Gaza: academic boycott “will strengthen support for Israel” (Electronic Intifada)
Rana Baker: Reflections on Noam Chomsky’s visit to Gaza (Electronic Intifada)
Jonathan Cook: The full story behind the war against free speech in Israel’s universities (Electronic Intifada)
Harriet Sherwood: Israel’s cranes reprove Barack Obama’s failure to pursue two-state solution (Guardian)
Budour Youssef Hassan: Protests and strikes as Israel raids Bedouin villages, threatens to destroy homes (Electronic Intifada)
Yitzhak Laor: הווילה בג’ונגל / Wealth without borders (Haaretz) / Wealth without borders (via Google) / Wealth without borders (via DuckDuckGo)

The Israeli economy and all its elites were built up and exist via continuous “foreign aid.” Of the 46 donors to Benjamin Netanyahu before the Likud party primary, 37 were Americans. In these pages last week, Shlomo Avineri called on “organizations that fear for the fate of Israeli democracy, such as the Israel Democracy Institute,” to take up cudgels against this trend. (And where does the institute’s money come from?) …
But the outrage over the American donors derives from a hallucination: that our democratic institutions represent all citizens in exactly the same way the parliament in Stockholm represents the people ruled by the Swedish state. Alas, for 45 years, Israeli democracy has been ruling over an occupied population, which has no representation and is not entitled to determine any issue connected to its life.

Angela Davis: Jim Crow and the Palestinians (CounterPunch)
Oudeh Basharat: The original Morris (Haaretz) / The original Morris (via DuckDuckGo / Google News) / בני מוריס האמיתי (Haaretz)
Coby Ben-Simhon: Benny Morris on why he’s written his last word on the Israel-Arab conflict (Haaretz) / Benny Morris on why he’s written his last word on the Israel-Arab conflict (via Google News)

Sri Lanka / Ilankai | Islamophobia | Libya | Venezuela | BRICS | USA | Palestine/Israel

Dayapala Thiranagama: Solitude in Jaffna and the silence of a city (The Island)

Jeff Sparrow: Islamophobia, Left and Right (CounterPunch)

In 1857, Bengali soldiers (known as ‘sepoys’) shot their British officers and marched upon Delhi. The Great Indian Rebellion became very violent, very quickly. … Now, that rebellion began when the troops learned that their cartridges, designed to be torn open with their teeth, would be greased with beef and pork fat, an offence to the religious sensibilities of Hindus and Muslims alike. Had Twitter been an invention of the Victorian era, London sophisticates would, no doubt, have LOLed to each other (#sepoyrage!) about the credulity of dusky savages so worked up about a little beef tallow. Certainly, that was how the mouthpieces of the East India Company spun events … But no serious historian today takes such apologetics seriously. Only the most determined ignoramus would discuss 1857 in isolation from the broader context of British occupation. In form, the struggle might have been religious; in content, it embodied a long-simmering opposition to colonial rule.
That’s why those who pretend the protests against The Innocence of Muslims came from nowhere merely reveal their own foolishness.
‘Today, many Americans are asking — indeed, I asked myself — how could this happen?’ said Hillary Clinton after the riots in Libya. ‘How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be.’
The echoes of George Bush’s infamous query ‘Why do they hate us when we’re so good?’ suggests nothing whatsoever has been learnt from the last decade and the hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Mel Frykberg: Human rights now worse in Libya than it was under Gaddafi (Stop the War Coalition)

Francisco Dominguez: Venezuelan Opposition Prepares for Non-Recognition of Chavez Victory (VenezuelAnalysis)
Steve Ellner: The Chavez Election (Monde diplomatique / VenezuelAnalysis) / Lehrstück Chávez (Monde diplomatique)

Heiko Khoo: The $10 million inequality question ‍(

Christopher Alessi, Martin Wolf: Does the BRICS Group Matter? (Council on Foreign Relations)

Full Transcript of the Mitt Romney Secret Video (Mother Jones)
Vadim Nikitin: The Wrong Reasons to Back Pussy Riot (New York Times)

Akiva Eldar: Israel’s five ‘nos’ / חמשת הלאווים של ישראל (Haaretz)

How long can Israel be the only country in the Middle East that enjoys a full exemption from nuclear inspections because of a conflict it doesn’t show any interest in trying to resolve?
At the height of its preparations for the holidays, Israel opened the new year with a new “no.”
Until now, there were only four: no to withdrawal from the territories that we occupied in 1967; no to dividing Jerusalem; no to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and no to the Arab Peace Initiative. Last Wednesday, Israel delivered another no – to the Helsinki conference on making the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free zone, which was meant to take place late this year or in early 2013.

Chemi Shalev: Abbas adopts ‘Dershowitz Formula’ for resuming talks with Israel [full text via Peace Now list] [via Google] (Haaretz)

According to some participants, Abbas appeared despondent during parts of the meeting. He raised the issue of the Palestinian Authority’s financial difficulties, saying that perhaps the time has come to revoke the Oslo Accords, and for him to retire with his family in Ramallah. …
Abbas also said that by adopting the Arab Peace Initiative’s formulation for a “just and agreed” solution to the refugee problem, he and most West Bank Palestinians had implicitly accepted the fact that only a fraction of the Palestinian refugees would be allowed to return to Israel proper, and only if the Israeli government agreed to it. …
Wexler said that Abbas had reiterated his agreement to a non-militarized Palestinian state, a security regime based on the 2008 blueprint offered by U.S. General James Jones and the presence of a “third party force” that would implement security procedures.

Chaim Levinson: The settlers’ army [via Google] / הצבא של המתנחלים (Haaretz)

A settlement security officer is theoretically subject to the army’s commands, but since he gets his salary from the settlement and is usually a veteran resident of the settlement, in reality, he takes orders from the settlement’s leadership. And since these settlement officers are veterans who know the area well, they de facto turn into the bosses of the soldiers who rotate through the area.

Syria | Libya | Palestine/Israel | USA | China

Richard Spencer: Syria: Turkey raises prospect of buffer zone for first time (Telegraph)

The Syrian crisis has put new energy into old allegiances in what had been shifting diplomatic territory in the region. Syria and Russia are old allies, but Syria, already close to Iran, had been moving closer to Turkey too until earlier this year.
But Turkey, a key Nato member, moved squarely against first Libya and then a second state in the vanguard of anti-Western rhetoric in the region, Syria.
It remains unclear what effect this will have in military terms – most western countries are desperate to avoid further intervention in the region. But Turkey and its western allies imposed a buffer zone for the Kurds in northern Iraq in the early nineties, as part of a series of defensive measures and embargoes that ultimately led to the 2003 invasion.

Clinton to meet Syrian opposition in Switzerland (Daily Star)

Franklin C. Spinney: Why the US & Israel May Agree to Bombing Iran (CounterPunch)
Patrick Seale: Will Israel Bomb Iran? (agence global)
Paul Vallely: War on Iran has begun. And it is madness (Independent)

Diana Johnstone: As the “Humanitarian Warriors” Gloat… Here’s the Key Question in the Libyan War (CounterPunch)

A young French film-maker, Julien Teil, has filmed a remarkable interview in which the secretary general of the Libyan League for Human Rights, Slimane Bouchuiguir, candidly admits that he had “no proof” of the allegations he made before the U.N. Human Rights Commission which led to immediate expulsion of the official Libyan representative and from there to U.N. Resolutions authorizing what turned into the NATO war of regime change. Indeed, no proof has ever been produced of the “bombing of Libyan civilians” denounced by Al Jazeera, the television channel financed by the Emir of Qatar, who has emerged with a large share of Libyan oil business from the “liberation war” in which Qatar participated.

Amos Schocken: חיסולה ההכרחי של הדמוקרטיה / The necessary elimination of Israeli democracy (Ha’aretz) / Die israelische Apartheid (Frankfurter Rundschau)
Amira Hass: כשפשיסט איננה מלה גסה / In Israel, ‘fascist’ is not a rude word (Ha’aretz)
Or Kashti: סקר: מחצית מבני הנוער הודו שלא ילמדו בכיתה עם ערבי / Poll: Half of Israeli teens don’t want Arab students in their class (Ha’aretz)
Tom Segev: תוכנית קניה / Zionism, Uganda and the Jews (Ha’aretz)

Alexander Cockburn: Obama Rebirthed as TR (CounterPunch)
Alberto C. Ruiz: The AFL-CIO’s Covert Ops in Venezuela (CounterPunch)

Michael T. Klare: Playing With Fire: Obama’s Risky Oil Threat to China (Nation)
John Yi: An Anti-China Axis? (Diplomat)
Zhu Yuan: Small ray of hope for future (China Daily)

Côte d’Ivoire | Egypt | Libya | USA | Bob Dylan

Tamasin Ford, Rachel Stevenson: Ivory Coast rebels have killed hundreds, say observers (Guardian)

Mass killings have been carried out by both sides of the conflict in Ivory Coast, according to the campaign group Human Rights Watch.
Their report documents a trail of death and destruction carried out by rebel forces who have swept through the country and are now fighting on the streets of Abidjan to secure the presidency for Alassane Ouattara.
As Ouattara, backed by the UN and the international community, edges closer to victory, the Guardian has uncovered evidence of atrocities committed by the forces acting in his name.

Peter Beaumont: Egyptian soldiers attack Tahrir Square protesters (Guardian)

Egypt’s deepening political crisis following the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak has taken a dangerous new turn after soldiers armed with clubs and rifles stormed protesters occupying Cairo’s Tahrir Square in a pre-dawn raid, killing at least two.
The demonstrators, angry at the slow progress of reform since the country’s 18-day revolution earlier this year, had been demanding the trial of Mubarak, his son Gamal and close associates, and an immediate transition from military to civilian rule.

Carl Finamore: Allies and Antagonists. Remaking Egypt Beyond Tahrir Square (Counterpunch)
Philip Rizk: Egypt: This Battle Is Far from Over (MRzine)

It has finally sunk in that the Egyptian military are not on the side of the people. Egyptians are up against a military apparatus that is maintaining the status quo “system”. In other words, we are confronting a global neo-liberal regime whereby the Egyptian government would follow the instructions of the powerful: protect Israel, obey IMF and World Bank economic policies, maintain the Egyptian working class as a sweat shop to allow for the comfort of our richer neighbors here and elsewhere. This battle is far from over.

Ellen Brown: Libya All About Oil, Or Central Banking? (Information Clearing House)
Jean-Pierre Séréni: The Bottom Line. Why the Oil Companies Decided Qaddafi Has to Go / Am Anfang war der Rote Scheich. Eine kleine Geschichte des libyschen Öls / النفط الليبي، من يدٍ إلى يد (Counterpunch / Monde diplomatique)
Edward S. Herman: Gilbert Achcar’s Defense of Humanitarian Intervention
Patrick Cockburn: The shady men backed bythe West to displace Gaddafi (Independent)

The new propaganda line of the rebels’ Transitional National Council is that professional soldiers, who have turned against Gaddafi over the last 40 years, will now take command and, in the words of one television reporter, “lick into shape the rag-tag militiamen”.
But the new military leadership, which Britain, France and to a decreasing extent the US, will be supporting, inspires even less confidence than their men. The careers of several make them sound like characters out of the more sinister Graham Greene novels. They include men such as Colonel Khalifa Haftar, former commander of the Libyan army in Chad who was captured and changed sides in 1988, setting up the anti-Gaddafi Libyan National Army reportedly with CIA and Saudi backing. For the last 20 years, he has been living quietly in Virginia before returning to Benghazi to lead the fight against Gaddafi.
Even shadier is the background of Abdul Hakeen al-Hassadi, a Libyan who fought against the US in Afghanistan, was arrested in Pakistan, imprisoned probably at Bagram, Afghanistan, and then mysteriously released. The US Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg, told Congressmen he would speak of Mr Hassadi’s career only in a closed session.
It is these characters, and others like them, whom Britain is now fighting to install in Tripoli to replace Col Gaddafi. The accusation of Peter Galbraith, the deputy head of the UN mission in Afghanistan, later sacked, was that the crippling weakness of the US was that it had “no credible local partner in Afghanistan.” This is true in trumps in Libya.

Information Office of the State Council: Human Rights Record of United States in 2010 (China Daily)

Peter Kornbluh, Erin Maskell: The CIA File on Luis Posada Carriles. A Former Agency Asset Goes on Trial in the US (National Security Archive)

“[I]t is poetic justice that the same U.S. Government whose secret agencies created, trained, paid and deployed Posada is finally taking steps to hold him accountable in a court of law for his terrorist crimes.”

Justice has been wishful thinking in that case. This US court has just acquitted Posada Carriles.

Charles Shaar Murray: Why Bob Dylan didn’t make a fuss in China (Guardian)

The notion of Dylan as a hardcore political activist and polemicist, or as a dyed-in-the-wool man of the left, is not only antiquated but was essentially erroneous even in the early 60s. His “protest period” lasted less than two years, and even then he was suspicious of leftie folkies who wanted him to be a singing placard: enter a cause, push a button, get a song.
He paid a formal farewell to the Movement with My Back Pages (from Another Side Of Bob Dylan in 1964) and by 1966 was sufficiently irritated by his alleged ideological soulmates to hang a gigantic Stars and Stripes as a stage backdrop for his now infamous “electric” European tour.
In the late 1970s he outraged his following by devoting an entire album, Slow Train Coming, to his conversion to born-again evangelical Christianity and, in the 1980s, by self-identifying as a hardcore Zionist with the song Neighborhood Bully.

China | Venezuela | Palestine | Korea

Isabel passed around these articles:
US steps up China encirclement strategy (Lalkar)
Debate: Death Penalty. Meng Lin: Time we did away with such punishment / Yi Shenghua: Social realities do not favor a ban (China Daily)

Should capital punishment be abolished for 13 economics-related non-violent crimes as proposed by an amendment to the Criminal Law? A legal practitioner says ‘yes’, while a lawyer says ‘no’.

Mark Weisbrot: Venezuelan Election: Neither Surprising Nor Game-Changing (MRzine)

PFLP suspends its participation in PLO Executive Committee to protest return to negotiations / PFLP verlässt PLO-Komitee aus Protest (PFLP)
Dror Etkes: Settlement freeze? It was barely a slowdown (Ha’aretz)

John Sexton, Ren Zhongxi: Clash of eras in the Beijing suburbs / Beijing Stadtrand [sic] wird zum sozialen Brennpunkt (

Kosovo | Korea | Venezuela | Unions | Iran …

Peter Beaumont: Kosovo breakaway from Serbia was legal, world court rules (Guardian)

Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia was legal under international law, the world court said today in a groundbreaking ruling with implications for separatist movements around the world and for Belgrade’s stalled EU membership talks.
The ruling – taken up by the international court of justice after a complaint from Serbia – is likely to lead more countries to recognise Kosovo’s independence. The tiny state is backed by 69 countries but needs 100 to join the UN.

Edward S. Herman: Srebrenica 15 Years After: The Politicization of “Genocide” (MRzine)

John sent this link:
Eva Golinger: Documents reveal multimillion-dollar funding to journalists and media in Venezuela (

US State Department documents declassified under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) evidence more than $4 million USD in funding to journalists and private media in Venezuela during the last three years. This funding is part of the more than $40 million USD international agencies are investing annually in anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela in an attempt to provoke regime change.

Wang Lixin: Workers want real unions and that’s the problem (Shanghai Daily)

Greg Miller, Thomas Erdbrink: U.S. paid Iranian nuclear scientist $5 million for aid to CIA, officials say (Washintgon Post)
Flynt Leverett, Hillary Mann Leverett: Desperately Seeking “Defectors” to Make a Case for an Iran War (MRzine)

Coverage of Shahram Amiri’s departure from the United States and his return to Iran has focused, rather superficially, on the question of whether he was kidnapped or defected and then changed his mind. Frankly, we are more interested in what reports that the CIA tried to pay Amiri $5 million say about the current political and policy environment in Washington with regard to Iran-related issues. […] Indeed, the CIA and the rest of the Intelligence Community seem sufficiently desperate to make their case that they will pay taxpayer dollars to gotten-up defectors who might be prepared to say—for the right price—what Washington elites want to hear.

Sanghyuk S Shin, Ricky Y Choi, Thomas E Novotny: Economic sanctions towards North Korea: A violation of the right to health and a call to action (British Medical Journal)

In light of the grave implications for the health of the North Korean people, the health community must oppose the use of economic sanctions. Through purposeful health diplomacy, US and other health professionals should use their expertise and commitment to human rights to contribute to meaningful engagement. With regard to health, humanity has more in common across political divides than differences, even in North Korea; it is time to work with those commonalities in the pursuit of peace.

Gideon Levy: Tricky Bibi / תחמניהו (Ha’aretz)

Enough of the claims that the Palestinians are to blame for the failure of Oslo. In the settlement of Ofra, Netanyahu revealed the naked truth: He himself scuppered the Oslo Accords, and even boasts about it.
הקץ לטענות שהפלסטינים אשמים בכישלון הסכמי אוסלו. נתניהו חשף בפני מארחיו בעופרה את האמת העירומה: במו ידיו ומעשיו הוא חיסל את הסכמי אוסלו, והוא אפילו מתגאה בכך

Anshel Pfeffer: Lethal joysticks / רואות ויורות. לפגוע במחבלים מהכיסא בחמ”ל (Ha’aretz)

With the press of a button the dome opens to reveal a heavy machine gun. Small tweaks of the joystick aim the barrel. To the right of the gun is a camera, which transmits a clear picture of the target onto a screen opposite the soldier. A press of the button and the figure in the crosshairs is hit by a 0.5-inch bullet.
בלחיצת כפתור נפתחת הכיפה ומתגלה מקלע כבד. לחיצות קטנות על הג’ויסטיק מכוונות את הקנה. לימין המקלע מותקן מצלמה שמעבירה את תמונת המטרה בבירור למסך מול החיילת. לחיצה על הכפתור והדמות שעל הצלב חוטפת קליע בקוטר 0.5 אינץ’

Jonathan Cook: Israel’s video game killing technology (Electronic Intifada)

Spot and Shoot, as it is called by the Israeli military, may look like a video game but the figures on the screen are real people—Palestinians in Gaza—who can be killed with the press of a button on the joystick.
The female soldiers, located far away in an operations room, are responsible for aiming and firing remote-controlled machine-guns mounted on watch-towers every few hundred meters along an electronic fence that surrounds Gaza.

Gideon Levy: He impersonated a human / התחזה לבנאדם (Ha’aretz)

Sabbar Kashur wanted to be a person, a person like everybody else. But as luck would have it, he was born Palestinian. It happens. His chances of being accepted as a human being in Israel are nil.
סבאר קאשור רצה להיות בנאדם, סתם בנאדם, כמו כולם. אלא שאיתרע מזלו והוא נולד פלסטיני. קורה. סיכוייו להתקבל כבן אדם בישראל אפסו.

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